As a follower of Christ, an ordained Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Atlanta, and a citizen of Fayetteville, I feel compelled to speak to the SB 233 (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) sponsored by state Senator Marty Harbin and recently supported by the Fayette County Commission.
The freedom to worship as a Christian and to practice my faith in society is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, and that protection is more than sufficient. A Religious Freedom Restoration Act is wholly unnecessary, and potentially discriminatory. It does not support religious freedom.
Instead of a RFRA that is divisive and potentially harmful, I believe our legislators should pass laws to protect the rights of all people. For instance, Georgia is one of only five states in the United States that does not have a public accommodation law for non-disabled individuals, and thus potentially allows racial and religious discrimination in businesses open to the public.
One of the promises we make at baptism in the Episcopal Church is to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” (BCP p. 305) Because of my faith and the promises I made at my baptism, I call on our legislators and all Georgians to work together for the rights of all God’s people.
The Rev. Rita Henault